Struggling to keep members, NOW picks O'Neill
Terry O'Neill / Latifa Lyles
Terry O'Neill / Latifa Lyles

.- In a close election, members of the National Organization for Women (NOW) voted last weekend to elect Terry O’Neill as their new president, despite concerns that younger leadership may be necessary for the organization’s survival.

O’Neill, 56, is an attorney who served as NOW’s vice president for membership from 2001 to 2005.  In her campaign, she said she would focus on grassroots organizing and membership recruitment as the pro-abortion group struggles to add new members.

“The press releases, the media exposure, invitations to the White House -- these are excellent things, but they're not enough,” she said.  “It's going to take well-organized, grassroots movement to advance our agenda.”

O’Neill, who will take office on July 21, describes herself as “honored and eager” to take over leadership of the organization.  However, statements from her opponent’s campaign reveal concerns about the age and relevance of NOW as a force in the modern world.

Running against O’Neill was Latifa Lyles, former Vice President of NOW who also has a background in grassroots organizing.  Support for the two candidates was narrowly divided.

Both women supported a “feminist” agenda that includes increasing access to abortion and birth control, however Lyles claimed she could also offer the organization a much-needed  image makeover that would encourage participation from a broader range of women.

As a 33-year-old African American, Lyles ran a campaign emphasizing youth and diversity.  Supporters hoped she would be able to draw in younger members and revitalize the movement, whose current membership is mostly white and over age 40.  

“The profile of NOW is just as important as the work we do,” Lyles said. “There are a lot of antiquated notions about what feminism is.”

Lyles was seen as a figure who could modernize NOW.  Her campaign website spoke of working with “new technology” and trying to “reenergize feminist activists.” Among important goals, she listed an increase in membership, including “the recruitment of young women and women of color, both as members and leaders.”

New York Times bestselling author and feminist Nancy Redd also endorsed Lyles as the best option to “renew faith” in NOW.  In her endorsement, Redd acknowledged that membership growth had “stagnated” and that thousands of similarly-minded activists “dismiss involvement with NOW, not seeing our organization as ‘for them.’” 

With Lyles’ defeat last weekend, pro-abortion feminists are pinning their hopes on O’Neill.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon

Liturgical Calendar

July 28, 2014

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:31-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 13: 1-11
Gospel:: Mt 13: 31-35

Saint of the Day

St. Victor I, Pope »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:31-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: